An Introduction to BLITZ

Traditional methods of Project and Program Management are primarily focused on clean sheet development where there is a start, a process, and a finish. Our methodology assumes that there are significant challenges that need to be resolved, and there may well be time, quality, progress, organizational, or structural problems that have to be resolved to make significant headway.

Our governing dynamics are:

  • Digital transformation is achieved by bringing creative engineering disciplines to focus on a specific outcome.

  • A small group of focused people can achieve the impossible by working together.

  • There is a way, our role is to find the way and go down it.

Our Operating Principles are focused around:

  • A focus on specific business outcomes

  • Urgency & Acceleration

  • Common Purpose

  • Enthusiasm & Creativity

  • Opportunism & Parallel activity

  • Flexible Controls

  • Obsessive Prioritization

The BLITZ Steps

BLITZ step 1 V2.jpg

Step 1: Assessment:

Understanding the problem: Existing objectives and strategy, people, skills , motivations : strengths & weaknesses, technology,  architecture and road map, tool usage, contractual constraints, change management assessment, and the reasons for being where we are.

Defining a Way forward: a short term North Star, a high level game plan, people requirements, immediate possible first steps to resolution.

Gaining buy in: Executive buy in to the North Star, team/user buy in to the North Star, immediate team actions, first steps

Deliverables: A statement of understanding, immediate communication and reporting processes, near , medium and log term objectives, high level plan, a detailed short term plan, roles and responsibilities, defined processes for progress, and a process adoption plan.

Expected Duration: 3-4 weeks

Blitz step 2.jpg

Step 2: Blitz 1

Define scope of operation for the first 2 weeks: Blitz 1 tasks, Blitz 1 issues, Blitz 1 resourcing,   Blitz 1 actions, Blitz 1 processes

Blitz 1 Objectives:

1. Get every team member working on something constructive to the immediate and long term objectives,

2. Understand the immediate issues that need to be resolved

3. Reinvigorate and enthuse the team

4. Set out a simple escalation path to communicate blockers

5. Set out a simple communication plan for stakeholders

6. Accelerate the team into productivity

Deliverables: A team and customer that knows things are changing, 2 weeks of progress, and/or a better understanding of the problems, significant blocking issues identified and resolved.

Expected Duration: 2 weeks, concurrent with weeks 2&3 of step 1

Blitz step 3.jpg

Step 3: Engagement & Communication Planning

Facilitated Workshop with team, customer, executive, and partner/vendor representation to drive understanding of:

  • North Star review / definition  

  • Review & agree high level program objectives / strategies

  • Inter-discipline communication accelerator   

  • Constraints review

  • Issues review (technology, change management) 

  • BLITZ 2 planning; tasks, issues, resourcing, actions, processes

  • Major milestone 1 definition

  • High level plan / prioritization

  • Communication  plan

  • Change Management Plan

Deliverables: A common documented understanding with all parts of the organization, about the path forward on the project/program.

Expected Duration: Prep 5 days, workshop 2-3 days running concurrently with week 4 of the Step 1 - Assessment

Blitz step 4.jpg

Step 4: Blitz 2  

Project acceleration and issue resolution: 4 weeks split into 2 sprints, review BLITZ 1 progress, define and prioritize for the initial major milestone, carry out BLITZ 2 tasks, resolve BLITZ 2 issues, ensure resourcing is in place as needed, clear BLITZ 2 actions, consistently use BLITZ 2 processes and agree processes and tools for future use.

BLITZ 2 Objectives:

1. Continue to accelerate the project

2 Focus team members on the major milestone  and their contribution to that

3. Set out  the medium term goals (2-4 months)

4 Agree long term process strategy (agile, kanban, waterfall etc) & tools , set out a plan to flexibly implement

Deliverables: 4 weeks of progress from the team, agreed tools and processes for further activities, communication clear with executive and customers, Milestone 1 defined

Duration: 4 weeks

Blitz step 5.jpg

Step 5: Leadership and Organizational Development 

During BLITZ 1: Project/Program leadership introduction to BLITZ management and servant leadership through coaching and example. Daily scrum participation. Executive engagement and support.

During BLITZ 2: Review of the delivery organization, ensuring roles and responsibilities are clear, and that all team members understand how they can support the success of the team.

During Program Phase 1: Ensuring the effectiveness of the team in line with defined roles and responsibilities, validating team leaders soft skills and team support actions to encourage team performance. Evolution of resourcing as required by the milestones.

Duration: Ongoing, concurrent with steps 2-9

Blitz step 6.jpg

Step 6: Process Adoption

During BLITZ 1: Set up war room / digital war room, implement daily scrums / checkpoints immediately, implement interactive direct escalation & communication, initiate success mentoring. Outline processes and structure of Step 3 workshop.  

Following BLITZ 2: Agreed methodology (default Agile but can be Kanban or Extreme), processes, tools, communication strategy, and a plan to roll these out. Agreed executive update process and inter-project reporting template

During Program Phase 1: Roll out agreed processes, tools communications, issues, escalation and reporting, with servant leadership operating principles.

Blitz step 7.jpg

Step 7: Communication and Change Management

Positive focus on the organizations ability to accept changes:

  • Communication and communication planning

  • Sponsor engagement, activities, and road maps

  • Coaching and manager training

  • Training and employee development

  • Vendor and partner engagement

  • Resistance management

  • Communication issue management

  • Recognizing and celebrating successes

  • Data collection, feedback, analysis, and corrective action

Duration: week 3 of Stage 1: Assessment onward

Blitz step 8.jpg

Step 8: Milestone 1 Sprints

The new normal: Implementing the methodology of choice, 2 week sprints, fully operational war room. Make progress towards Milestone 1, manage issues as they arise, celebrate successes, surround and solve problems. For each sprint:

  • Validate previous progress

  • Validate priorities

  • Validate High Level Plan

  • Define next Sprint contents and acceptance criteria

  • Gain consensus

  • Allocate tasks

  • Deliver expected contents of Sprint

  • Communicate with Executive, Users, Vendors etc

Duration: not more than 2-3 months

Blitz step 9.jpg

Step 9: Milestone 2+ Sprints

Continuous Delivery of Excellence: With a stable, predictable, productive environment and team, operating well understood processes to manage production and effective communication, Sprints and Milestones become more productive over time, the team can express its creativity in delivery and circumventing problems.

Executive, Users and business partners increasingly rely on production plans to make business decisions.

Prioritization evolves from raw functional delivery towards including operating improvements based on usability opportunities.

The prime objectives of the program may be complete, and the continued evolution of the solution brings cost effective incremental business value to the organization.

The teams detailed understanding of the solution allows for the transition to support as required.

Duration: to be defined by the program